Saturday Morning Prayer Meeting

(6/13/20)

Come to Jesus!

 

 

“I Must Tell Jesus”

https://youtu.be/nZ47rDBmmP8

I must tell Jesus / All of my trials
I cannot bear these burdens alone
In my distress / He kindly will help me
He ever cares and loves His own

I must tell Jesus / All of my troubles
He’s a kind and compassionate friend
If I but ask Him / He will deliver
Make of my troubles / Quickly an end

I must tell Jesus / I must tell Jesus
I cannot bear these burdens alone
I must tell Jesus / I must tell Jesus
Jesus can help me / Jesus alone

Tempted and tried I need a great Savior
One who can help my burdens to bear
I must tell Jesus / I must tell Jesus
He all my cares and sorrows will share

I must tell Jesus / I must tell Jesus
I cannot bear these burdens alone
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone

 

 

Come

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me,

all who labor and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you,

and learn from me,

for I am gentle and lowly in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy,

and my burden is light.”

Tell Jesus about your burdens…

 

 

Come

Matthew 11:28-30

“If anyone would come after me,

let him deny himself

and take up his cross

and follow me.”

 

Tell Jesus how you’ve used him like a mascot,

to prop yourself up,

to get things

to feel good about yourself…

Repent…

Remember again today that you have died…

Find your life, your righteousness, your all in him…

 

 

Come

John 6:35

“I am the bread of life;

whoever comes to me

shall not hunger,

and whoever believes in me

shall never thirst.”

 

Tell Jesus ways you have tried to fill your hungers

and slake your thirsts on other things besides him…

Let’s praise him for the ways he satisfies…

 

 

To Jesus

FORGIVER – “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven” (Mt. 9:2).

FRIEND – “I have called you friends” (Jn. 15:15).

SERVANT – “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mk. 10:45).

INTERCESSOR – “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Lk. 22:32).

COMFORTER – “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn. 14:27).

CONFRONTER – “You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Mk. 8:33).

TEACHER – “Listen” (Mk. 4:3)!

COMING JUDGE – “Depart from me…” (Mt. 25:41).

DEFENDER – “Leave her alone” (Mk. 14:6).

SAVIOR – “The Son of Man came to seek & to save the lost” (Lk. 19:10).

EVER-PRESENT – “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

 

 

Come

John 4:29

“Come,

see a man

who told me all that I ever did.”

 

Let’s pray for our evangelism efforts…

A man without self-control

is like a city broken into

and left without walls.

Proverbs 25:28

I’ve noticed that many of us are struggling to be disciplined lately, myself included. Maybe we never really were, but it’s become obvious now that our routines have been disrupted.

Working from home is new for many, bringing new temptations towards sloth and/or overwork. It might be that your sleep schedule has become erratic now that you don’t have to get up and go out. Perhaps your diet and exercise and personal hygiene regimens are not great. Circumstances and social media have been taking many of us on a wild ride of emotions lately. I won’t ask how your Bible reading and prayer routines are going (wait, I guess I just did).

The issue of discipline is really a matter of self-control. Are you in control of yourself, or are you being jerked around by your passions? Are you guided by a renewed mind steeped in God’s revelation, or is peer pressure telling you what to think? Have you learned to tame your tongue, or are you saying (or typing) whatever is the first thing to pop into your head? Do you set the agenda for your day in submission to God, or are you dictated to by the immediate, the urgent, or the whims of the moment? Can you wait, or do you unreflectively grab what you desire right away? Can you do things that you don’t necessarily want to do, or are you an addict – unable to stop or say No to a substance or activity or thought?

Are you self-controlled? To paraphrase the proverb, a person without self-control is like a Jewel with bashed in windows. There are no proper boundaries. You are susceptible to anyone coming in at any time and taking from you. You’re not functioning properly. You’re a mess.

A person without any self-control has no defense against the world, the flesh, and the devil coming right in and telling you what to do. You’re at their mercy… and they are not merciful.

But God is!!! Praise him that he’s not grading you on your level of discipline to make the cut for his kingdom. You don’t (you can’t) earn your salvation through your self-control. You know you can be addicted to working out, eating right, religious duties, etc. too, right? Biblical self-control is not self-salvation. It’s a result of salvation.

Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Gal. 5:23). Struggling believer: you are struggling because the Spirit of God dwells in you and has given you a desire to please him and be pleased with him. You are united to Christ. You are a new creation. You are no longer in bondage to sin. You have the freedom and the power to fight for new habits. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24).

Now “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25), “sow… to the Spirit” (Gal. 6:8), “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). This is our new purpose, together. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:11-14).

Your fellow struggler,

Pastor Nathan

Hello IBC Family,

The recommended ‘Sermon of the Week’ is an older sermon by Pastor Nathan from our study of Deuteronomy entitled, “The King” (the manuscript can be found here.) As we are confronted with the blatant lack of justice in our world, we hope this sermon will provide the biblical categories necessary for thinking through how Christians can best be a people who seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).

The Spotify Playlist has been updated with a new set of worship music for this week for you to draw from in your home worship.

The reading for the week comes from The Valley of Vision.It’s a prayer entitled “The King.”

O GOD,

Praise waiteth for thee,

and to render it is my noblest exercise;

This is thy due from all thy creatures,

for all thy works display thy attributes

and fulfil thy designs;

The sea, dry land, winter cold, summer heat,

morning light, evening shade are full of thee,

and thou givest me them richly to enjoy.

Thou art King of kings and Lord of lords;

At thy pleasure empires rise and fall;

All thy works praise thee and thy saints bless thee;

Let me be numbered with thy holy ones,

resemble them in character and condition,

sit with them at Jesus’ feet.

May my religion be always firmly rooted in thy Word,

my understanding divinely informed,

my affections holy and heavenly,

my motives simple and pure,

and my heart never wrong with thee.

Deliver me from the natural darkness of my own mind,

from the corruptions of my heart,

from the temptations to which I am exposed,

from the daily snares that attend me.

I am in constant danger while I am in this life;

Let thy watchful eye ever be upon me for my defence,

Save me from the power of my worldly and spiritual enemies

and from all painful evils to which I have exposed myself.

Until the day of life dawns above

let there be unrestrained fellowship with Jesus;

Until fruition comes,

may I enjoy the earnest of my inheritance

and the firstfruits of the Spirit;

Until I finish my course with joy

may I pursue it with diligence,

in every part display the resources of the Christian,

and adorn the doctrine of thee my God in all things.

Praying for you this week. If you would like to meet with one of the pastors for lunch please email elders at immanuel dash baptist dot net.

Seek the welfare of the city

where I have sent you into exile,

and pray to the LORD on its behalf.

Jeremiah 29:7

This week showed us the lack of shalom in Chicago. It’s a good time to revisit this passage that is foundational to our church’s vision.

In light of recent events, many will find reasons to disdain the city and seek to get out of it. It was the same in the 6th century B.C. with the city of Babylon. It was pagan. It was oppressive. And many Jews living there couldn’t wait to evacuate. Yet Jeremiah wrote them this letter saying that God wanted them to stay for another seventy years. They weren’t supposed to see the city as a place to leave, but rather a place to love. They were to…

Seek – hope for, work for, invest their time/energy/ heart in increasing the…

Welfare – the well-being, the peace, the shalom, the right ordering, the healthy flourishing of the…

City – that dense, diverse conglomeration of bodies and buildings that amplify human potential for good and for evil where the LORD had sent them into…

Exile – a less-than-ideal, often hard, home-away-from-home. And they were to…

Pray– constantly ask the LORD to bless the systems, structures, and inhabitants around them.

Similarly, the people of God today are called exiles (1Pe. 1:1). Our true home is the heavenly Jerusalem and we long to be there (see Ph. 3:20), but God has sovereignly determined that we live for now in Chicago (see Acts 17:26). He may call you elsewhere at some point, but always remember that there is really no ‘greener grass’ anywhere east of Eden. And for now God has us here to serve our city.

Do you ache with the pain of Chicago? And do you desire its security and prosperity? That will require more than just slogans and well-wishes. For those who marched peacefully yesterday, standing side-by-side with other city-dwellers for the basic dignity of every person made in the image of God, you heard the two African-American men on the sideline thanking the crowd for this demonstration, but admonishing that it’s going to take ‘more than this.’ That is so true.

Jeremiah 29 fills out for us more of what it will take. He reminds us that it’s going to take time, like generations. Many parts of our great city that went up in flames in the riots of 1968 are still recovering. We impatiently think in terms of quick bursts of activism and those can be part of the strategy. However, it’s been demonstrated that most deep, sustained effects require faithful presence. Please pray for longshoremen and longevity. We have some big challenges ahead in our city that was already facing a budget crisis (our kids’ school has had a budget cut every year the last 8 years that we’ve been there), and now a lagging economy, a stretched healthcare system, and the fallout of civic unrest. Chicago needs citizens committed to helping for the long-haul.

Jeremiah also shows us that a lot of what we’re supposed to do for the common good of the city is unglamorous. Buy a house and fix its broken windows. Plant a garden and weed it. Get married and raise kids. It’s all very ordinary, un-sexy stuff that won’t make the news or maybe even Instagram. But all those ordinary things: shoveling sidewalks, talking to neighbors, volunteering at school, going to work, paying taxes… adds up to a city that functions.

At the end of the movie that we watched together last Friday there was one of my favorite quotes of all time:

The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts, and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. – George Eliot

I thought that quote was somewhat misapplied. After all, Franz Jägerstätter has a Wikipedia page and was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. I think it’s more about people who will never be noticed doing things that seem utterly mundane – giving a cup of cold water (Mt. 10:42) and sounding no trumpet (Mt. 6:2). That’s what God mostly uses to sustain the world.

The gospel gives us an unparalleled ability to do such un-acclaimed acts of love since we don’t need the approbation of anyone – we have it all in Christ.

And just having a functioning city is not our ultimate goal; it is sharing the gospel. Jeremiah told the OT exiles that in Babylon’s welfare they would find their welfare. Paul tells Timothy to pray for civic leaders that “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life” (1Tim. 2:2). The point is not truly selfish. It’s so that we can have an arena in which to preach the gospel and grow the church.

Someday this city will melt. “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (Heb. 13:14), “that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). Until then, let’s love our city in every way we can, including inviting all its residents to join us there in the eternal city through repentance and faith in Jesus.

~ Pastor Nathan

ADDENDUM (Sunday Morning):

Please watch these two short videos from Pastor Nathan before beginning your home worship: 

Part 1

Part 2

Hello IBC Fam,

The state is slowly moving out of quarantine, but larger corporate gatherings are still not advised and so we have to spend another Sunday apart, worshipping at home. You can find ‘The Immanuel Plan for Gathering Again’ here.

This week we have an old sermon from the IBC archives based on Joel 3 entitled, “The Face of God in Justice and Love.” I hope it is an encouragement to you this week.

The Spotify Playlist has been updated with new worship music for this week.

It was a week of deeply sad news (i.e. 100,000+ COVID-19 deaths and the death of George Floyd…). In case you missed Prayer Meeting, we dedicated it to the practice of lament and you can see what we did here. Our reading for this week comes from one of the ‘Psalms of Lament’:

PSALM 77

I cry aloud to God,

aloud to God, and he will hear me.

In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;

in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;

my soul refuses to be comforted.

When I remember God, I moan;

when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

You hold my eyelids open;

I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

I consider the days of old,

the years long ago.

I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;

let me meditate in my heart.”

Then my spirit made a diligent search:

“Will the Lord spurn forever,

and never again be favorable?

Has his steadfast love forever ceased?

Are his promises at an end for all time?

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah

Then I said, “I will appeal to this,

to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;

yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

I will ponder all your work,

and meditate on your mighty deeds.

Your way, O God, is holy.

What god is great like our God?

You are the God who works wonders;

you have made known your might among the peoples.

You with your arm redeemed your people,

the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

When the waters saw you, O God,

when the waters saw you, they were afraid;

indeed, the deep trembled.

The clouds poured out water;

the skies gave forth thunder;

your arrows flashed on every side.

The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;

your lightnings lighted up the world;

the earth trembled and shook.

Your way was through the sea,

your path through the great waters;

yet your footprints were unseen.

You led your people like a flock

by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Our Memory Verse for this week is still Psalm 1:6 – “…for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

The Kid’s Corner story is “The Wise King” p.194 (Lesson 194). Coloring sheets are attached. And the songs are:

1. “The B-I-B-L-E”

2. “This Little Light of Mine”

As always, we are praying for you during this turbulent time. We love you and eagerly long for the day when we can come together again in full fellowship. If you would like to talk/walk/meet with us, please email us.

Sincerely,

Pastor Theo

Saturday Morning Prayer Meeting

5/30/20

Listen to “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” by Charles Wesley…

Biblical Movements of Lament (from Mark Vroegop, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy):

1. Turn to God – Address God as you come to him in prayer.

2. Bring your Complaint – Identify in blunt language the specific pain or injustice (why/how?!)

3. Ask Boldly – Specifically call upon God to act in a manner that fits his character.

4. Choose to Trust – Affirm God’s worthiness to be trusted and commit to praising him.

 

TURNING TO GOD

“I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.

In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord” (Ps. 77:1-2a).

· offer short prayers of address to God, orienting ourselves, stating who we are talking to…

· examples: Pss. 5:1, 17:1, 25:1, 28:1, 80:1, 83:1, 86:1, 90:1, 123:1, 141:1, 142:1…

 

COMPLAINING TO GOD

“Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?

Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble” (Ps. 10:1)?

How long, O LORD, will you look on” (Ps. 35:17)?

“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint” (Ps. 64:1)…

· name specifically the thing you are lamenting in the chat box…

gun violence in chicago; racism in this (and all) countries; Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd….; all the destruction that has followed; police officers who don’t serve and protect us, but scare us; police officers that are doing their jobs well that are now judged; poor people facing a harder life during the pandemic; isolation and loneliness in time of coronavirus, especially among the elderly in nursing homes; the fact that we’re in a global catastrophe and national tragedy and only a fraction of the church shows up to pray; more people not caring; that I only care when social media tells me to care; loss of my longest standing close friendship; death of my grandmother; failed leadership in many institutions and governments; public discourse that has degenerated into politicians swearing at each other and people in general villainizing those who have different viewpoints; apathy of the church and the lukewarm spirituality that characterizes us; the loss of freedom in places like Hong Kong, and the potential effect on the church; getting old; feeling lonely; unfulfilled dreams for a church that’s committed to each other and a common mission in our neighborhood; not being able to gather in person as a church; 100,000 deaths from pandemic in States; that I still struggle with the same sins – pride, impatience, selfishness…..; divisiveness within the church in regards to secondary and tertiary matters (specifically people’s stances on social distancing, mask wearing etc); fake news and people’s proliferation of it; my kids’ spiritual state; the response of fear and self-preservation; xenophobia and our treatment of the alien who lives among us; not having consistent devotional time despite being at home more; broken relationships in my family and in the families of others in the church; unhappy marriages; the sometimes lack of good Christian responses to today’s social/political issues; I don’t love God as I ought; impatience and not making wise decision as I ought to be; CPS budget crisis and how that could impact economic disparity in Chicago for the longterm; sharing the gospel clearly and people being completely unfazed; suicides of pastors; the seeming lack of evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit to bring change in others….. in me??

· a few people vocalize these cries…

 

ASKING GOD

“But you, O LORD, do not be far off!

O you my help, come quickly to my aid” (Ps. 22:19)!

· importune God to act on behalf of his glory…

· examples: “arise” (i.e. Ps. 10:12), “grant us help” (i.e. Ps. 60:11), “remember your mercy” (i.e. Ps. 25:6), let justice be done (i.e. Ps. 83:16-18), forgive (i.e. Ps. 79:8-9), “restore us” (i.e. Ps. 80:3), “listen” (i.e. Ps. 86:6), “teach me” (i.e. Ps. 143:10), “vindicate me” (i.e. Ps. 35:24)…

 

TRUSTING GOD

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD,

because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Ps. 13:5-6).

· the ‘buts’ of the Bible; examples: Pss. 31:12, 14; 71:10-11, 14; 86:14-15…

Introduction

Praise God that the numbers continue to improve and our city is preparing to gradually resume ‘normal’ life!  As this progresses, here is our general plan for resuming in-person meetings.

Bible Directed

We desperately and rightfully long to be together again. The next section of psalms that our church is getting ready to go through in our Bible Reading Plan – the ‘Songs of Ascent’ – were sung as pilgrims anticipated worship at the Temple. We can certainly relate to the sentiment expressed in Psalm 122:1 – “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’”

As we’ve said from the beginning of this season, we must not forget that assembling together around Jesus is fundamental to what a New Testament church (ekklesia) is. We have tried to safeguard this truth by not attempting to produce an online version of ‘church’, but rather to let the lack be felt and drive us to deeper reflection and prayer (listen to Episode 2 of the Immanuel Pastors Podcast for more). Therefore, we are especially eager to resume Sunday gatherings as soon as reasonably possible.

Local Government Informed

But the Bible also directs us to love our neighbors (Rom. 13:10) and to submit to our governing authorities (1Pe. 2:13-17). While the President recognized churches as essential and some in other parts of the country are already re-convening… and while the Governor has lifted restrictions on Illinois churches, our particular setting requires a slightly slower pace. For the sake of our local witness and local public health, at this point we will be following the re-opening guidelines laid out by our Mayor.

Phases 1 & 2

Though it was hard, we stressed staying home as much as possible and when outside using social distancing and face masks during the first phases of this pandemic. Small Groups and Prayer Meeting happened via Zoom and Sunday services were cancelled.

Phase 3

Since the Mayor declared that the City could enter Phase 3 on June 3 we still have not gathered on Sundays, but our Small Groups began having an in-person element. Some have been uncomfortable or unable to come and so we still have a Zoom option for joining in. Plus, Small Groups have not been able to have over 10 people present (including kids), so some people have had to opt to stay home and join via Zoom on certain weeks. Those come have to wear masks and keep a safe distance. We encourage outdoor gatherings as much as possible. But this has been a welcome step forward towards embodied re-engagement with each other.

Phase 4

As soon as Chicago enters into Phase 4 (which in the current plan allows for gatherings of up to 50 people) Small Groups will have no attendance limit and we will move to begin having Sunday corporate worship again! It won’t feel like March 8th did. It won’t even feel like March 15th (our last Sunday together when we had started to implement several precautions). But it will feel good.

In the months and years to come, we want to be up front that we are not expecting a totally COVID-free church, but we will have a COVID-safe church. This is not a comprehensive list, but here are just some of the safety measures we plan to have in place at first:

· There will be a lot of hand sanitizer.

· Everyone will have to wear and sing with masks.

· We will not offer Kids’ Corner.

· No handshakes or hugs.

· There will not be any food, besides the Lord’s Table (and we have a plan for distributing those elements in an extra careful way).

· Offering baskets will not be passed but will remain stationary.

· There will be no bulletins and it will be BYOB (bring-your-own-Bible).

· Surfaces will be wiped down after every use and The Meeting Place will be professionally cleaned every week instead of every month.

· Seating will be spread apart.

· Entrance, exit, and traffic flow will be streamlined to maintain safe distance and minimize touching handles.

· Those who are sick or susceptible should stay home.

· RSVPs will be required and the Welcoming Team will keep a count to make sure we do not exceed 50 people.

The 50 person limit does not leave much wiggle room for visitors, but we think we can meet like this for a while and evaluate our options as the fall and the possible return of students approaches. Perhaps there will be new developments in the spread of the virus and/or government guidelines by then. We will also be prepared for the possibility of needing to move back to Phase 3 at some point.

The logistics and legalities of outdoor services have also being explored, but at the moment seem to have too high of a liability.

Conclusion

We want to communicate openly with you about our plans. Obviously, circumstances are constantly shifting and plans are always subject to the Lord’s will (James 4:13-15). We will keep monitoring the situation.

In the meantime, we ask you to keep praying: for us as leaders, for each other, for your own soul to remain in Christ’s love, for the revival of the Church, for the lost around us and around the world, for the abatement of this virus, and ultimately for the return of Christ. Keep pursuing the Lord through private and family worship routines. And keep pursuing relationships with your brothers and sisters through things like our Saturday Morning Prayer Meetings, weekly Small Group Bible Studies, discussing the Sunday Guides, participating in the Facebook Group conversations and events… and through reaching out individually.

We hosted a Town Hall Zoom Meeting for members of the church to discuss this on June 21.

 

Updated 6/24/20

Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes;

and I will keep it to the end.

Give me understanding,

that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.

Psalm 119:33-34

Why is the Bible so important?

In the midst of our busy lives, it’s pretty easy for me to be consumed with the various needs and concerns we see present in various parts of our world. People are destitute and in need. Corruption around the world can be seen exploiting the most vulnerable under their care for their own greed and power. The economy is going crazy.

There are so many things in the world to be concerned about and so many voices vying for our attention that I often find myself overwhelmed. I’m ashamed to admit it, but when I find myself in this kind of mood, I kind of feel like the Bible is the last thing I really want to study. Compared to everything that is going wrong, a book that was written so long ago often doesn’t really feel relevant to my own times and concerns.

Psalm 119 is a convicting Psalm for me to read. When I am so distracted by life and the concerns of this world, verses like these remind me of the fact that the people of God throughout history have prioritized the study and understanding of God’s Word even in the worst circumstances. It’s striking to me that even during times of exile under oppressive regimes, God’s people were people still reading this Psalm and still trying to hear and obey what the Lord had to say to them. And it often makes me wonder: what did they see in Scripture that I’m missing?

There is a lot we can talk about with this Psalm, but for the sake of this study I want to just highlight three things the Psalmist has been reminding me of when he writes about God’s Word.

First, the Word of God is the only way we can know whether or not we are living our lives rightly before God.

Psalm 119:9 states, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” This is something I tend to forget. Often, I feel like there are so many things that I need to do. I need to be well-informed about what’s going on around me. I need to work hard and strive to create a successful career for myself and for the sake of my family. I need to be responsible with my time and resources so that I can live independently and not be a burden upon anyone else.

I’m sure that others can come up with a thousand other things they feel like they need to do or be, and to be sure all these things are important. But when I look at the Bible, I realize that I could be doing all of these things, working hard, staying relevant, and taking care of my responsibilities, and still not be a good person. What does it matter if I do all this, but forget to do the things the Lord tells me to do? What’s the point of being a useful member of society, when I still don’t really love the Lord the way I should and I definitely don’t love other people as much as I ought to? When we take the time to read the law of the Lord, it reminds us of what the Lord actually wants from us. And often what the Lord actually wants from us isn’t what we think he wants.

Second, God’s Word reminds us of what is true.

Psalm 119:73 states, “Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.” There’s something very profound in the way these two thoughts are linked together. In our own times, we like to think of ourselves as independent. We are who we are because we choose to be who we are, and no one has the right to question what we’ve decided. With hard work and determination, we can be whatever we want to be.

But the Psalmist corrects this notion. We didn’t decide who or what we are going to be. God made us. God decided what kind of hair we were going to have, who our parents would be, and what kind of culture we would grow up in. And because God made us, he absolutely has the right to correct us and tell us who we are and are not. He’s got every right to redirect our lives to whatever ends he feels are best. That’s just what it means for God to be God. So rather than try to build our own lives or force things to go the way we want them to, the Psalmist simply turns his attention to what the Lord says is true and lives his life according to that. And he’s better off for it.

Finally, God’s Word reminds us of how much God loves us.

Psalm 119:41-41, “Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me.” For the Psalmist, God’s Word isn’t merely a list of things we ought and ought not do; it is also a clear presentation of the promises God has given to his people. Promises to be their God forever and to forgive their sins and deliver them from the evils of this world. In God’s Word we find clear evidence of God’s intent for our lives. That he will be the God over his people and they will dwell in his presence within his kingdom free from the malice and sorrows which have afflicted us for so long.

And it is these great promises within the Bible which stabilize us even in the midst of disaster. They give us an answer to those who ridicule our faith, for we can say even in the midst of calamity that our God is one who is for us. Even in our suffering he is at work on our behalf bringing us home to be with him.

It is foolish of us to assume that we live in times which are more turbulent than those in past years. However, when we survey the history of God’s people throughout such times, we can clearly see that God’s people have always prioritized the study of his Word. Even when the world around them was falling apart, they took the time to meditate on the precepts of the Lord because for them the Bible wasn’t merely a book. Rather, it was God’s own voice announcing what it right, true, and good for the benefit of his people. And we need to hear these things all the more in scary times like ours.

~ Pastor Theo

This Friday at 8:00 PM we will be having an all-church movie night from the comfort of your own home!

So pop some corn and make your favorite snack and interact with other IBCers while you watch.

We will be watching the movie A Hidden Life, which TGC has reviewed here.

So here is how it will work: rent the movie via Amazon and join the Zoom link that was emailed out before we begin. Then feel free to comment in the chat box during the movie with your thoughts or questions and we can recap together as well when it’s finished!

Hope to see you all there!

Hello IBC,

This is our 10th Sunday not meeting together as a church. We pray that you still are setting aside the Lord’s Day as special in your home, utilizing the guide that we provide, and longing for the assembly of the saints again.

Recently, Nathan recorded a talk on Philippians 1:18b-30 for another church here in the city entitled, “Death, Life, and Life Together.” We thought it would be applicable and an encouragement for IBC too.

The Spotify Playlist has been updated with new worship music.

And our prayer for this week comes again from The Valley of Vision:

NEED OF JESUS

LORD JESUS,

I am blind, be thou my light,

ignorant, be thou my wisdom,

self-willed, be thou my mind.

Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit’s voice,

and delightfully run after his beckoning hand;

Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,

make it alive to evil’s slightest touch;

When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds,

and there cease to tremble at all alarms.

Be my good shepherd to lead me into

the green pastures of thy Word,

and cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comforts.

Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales

may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.

Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,

Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,

Thy death occurred to give me a surety,

Thy name is my property to save me,

By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,

but it is too narrow to comprehend thy love.

I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,

but thy cross has brought me near,

has softened my heart,

has made me thy Father’s child,

has admitted me to thy family,

has made me joint-heir with thyself.

O that I may love thee as thou lovest me,

that I may walk worthy of thee, my Lord,

that I may reflect the image of heaven’s first-born.

May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,

and feel the power of thy Spirit in my heart,

for unless he move mightily in me

no inward fire will be kindled.

The church Memory Verse is Psalm 1:6 – “…for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

The Kids’ Corner Story is “The Lord is My Shepherd” p. 190 (Lesson 11). And the Songs from our YouTube Playlist are “Peace Like a River” and “How Good Is the Lord.” Corresponding coloring sheets/games are attached.

As always please let us know if you are in need of anything throughout the week. Nathan and/or I are available to take a socially distant walk with you or buy you lunch during your lunch hour and eat safely at The Meeting Place. Just email elders at immanuel dash baptist dot net to schedule something!

Praying for you,

Pastor Theo

From @immanuelchicago on Twitter

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